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...2006 wrap-up.  What's a couple of months between friends?

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006)
THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE (2006)


Flags of Our Fathers Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach. Director: Clint Eastwood. Screenwriters: William S. Broyles, Paul Haggis.
I’ll say right off the bat, I didn’t care for this film. 

It’s handsomely made, with great attention to detail, and the war scenes are harrowing.   But what’s the point?

“War is hell”?  Hey, I think I knew that one already, thanks anyway Clint.  If I didn’t, if I was some idiot who thought war was all bang-bang against bad guys, this film would show me the folly of my ways. 

“The US Government is full of liars”?  Hey, way to be contemporary on us, Clint.  I understand you’re getting on in years, man, and always wanted to have one of those long articles in the New York Times telling us how you’ve “matured” (ie, see things their way).  I guess all those reviews of Dirty Harry must still sting, even after all these years.

“America is not worth fighting for”?   This is probably the one that bothers me the most, as it seems to be the major point of the film, at least from this seat.   It makes me think that this is a thinly (very thinly) veiled attack on the current war in the Middle East, with America (as always, in Hollywood) on the wrong side.  So let’s go back in history and show that America was never, ever on the right side. 

So, we’re supposed to think that fighting against Imperial Japan was wrong?  I’ve read World War II history, and the Japanese army didn’t seem to be made up of nice guys.

(Eastwood has filmed a companion piece for Flags to be released later, called Letters from Iwo Jima.  Reportedly, this takes a sympathetic view of the soldiers stationed there, knowing their fight to hold the island was doomed but refusing to give up, due to honor.  Honor doesn’t make an appearance in Flags.)

In Eastwood’s view, the American forces on Iwo Jima (and by extension, everywhere else) were made up of losers, blowhards, drunks and other non-entities.  And all America cares about is pretty pictures. 

If you think America is worthless if not downright dangerous, then you’ll like this film.  If you have any pride as an American, it will, at best, puzzle you.  I’m not saying every film has to be “My Country, Right or Wrong!” but sometimes, just sometimes, America was right after all.






 

 


The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Starring: Tim Allen, Martin Short. Director: Michael Lembeck. Screenwriters: Ed Decter, John J. Strauss.
The last film I saw in theatres in 2006 was this one, and I think overall it was “okay.”  I laughed at some of the jokes and overall had a pretty good time. 

I’m not really all that conversant with the Santa Clause series of films, so I don’t know how this stacks up with the others.  Usually “Part Three”s of anything tend to be franchise-killers. 

Anyway, the setup is that Tim Allen is Santa Claus, and he has to hide this from everyone except his immediate family, which creates problems where his in-laws are concerned.  Santa’s wife would really like to see them again, so they’re brought to the North Pole…which they are told is Canada.  That was probably the best joke in the film; that these people could look upon a village made up of toy shops, bakeries and such, and think this is a typical Canadian town.  (The fact that the actors are themselves Canadian adds to the joke.)

Trouble arrives in the form of Jack Frost, who’d like a holiday of his own and, once again thwarted by the Council of Holiday Avatars (not their real name, but I can’t remember it) decides to steal Christmas.  He does this through an intricate time-travel scheme to replace Tim Allen as Santa Claus. 

I don’t suppose it’s a spoiler to reveal that the day is saved.

Should you see it?  Well, too late now—once the holiday season is over, not even the most daring of dollar theatres would show a Christmas movie.  But I’m sure it will be available next holiday season.   When the holiday season hits, people tend to be forgiving of movies set therein, so, you could go ahead and have yourself a Santa Clause marathon.  There’s certainly worse things you could do—like watch all the “Jack Frost” killer snowman movies.

Ooo, now there's a thought....

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